Saturday, November 18, 2006

fixing fence (and horse stuff)

Horses are rough on fences; it's a fact of life.  The woven-wire fence in the pen the horses lounge around in had been leaned on so much that it was sagging, and leaning sadly outward.  It held the horses in just fine, but Cliff wanted it back like it's supposed to be.  This meant taking all the wire loose from the posts, pulling all the posts and then driving them back in, and re-attaching the wire.  It isn't that long a stretch of fence, and we had it fixed in three hours.  Cliff plans to put a strand of electric fence around the top of it soon to keep the nags from messing it up again.

I'm having some very rewarding training sessions with Libby; I've only missed two days working with her since I got her.  Sometimes I only spend twenty or thirty minutes, but she seems to retain most of what she learns.

She'll walk on the plastic tarp now, even if the wind is blowing it around.  I put a bale of straw on it to keep it from blowing entirely away, and found out Libby will step right over the bale (that one really impressed Cliff:  "Let's see Blue do that," he said.  Yeah, right... it takes about an hour of pursuading just to get Blue to step on the tarp!)

Libby's learning hand signals... me motioning her to come forward or step backward.  She responds to "whoa" if she's getting too close to me.  If I pull downward on her lead rope, she instantly lowers her head, which is a very basic but important thing.

When I handle her feet, she knows which foot I'll be going to next, and lifts it for me before I get there.

I'm still sacking her out some, but I'm staying away from her head with the sackful of cans, since that seems to upset her quite a bit; I don't want to make her head-shy.  We have all the time in the world; there's no need pushing her too fast.

I can turn on a very noisy leaf-blower as I hold it in my hand and, as long as she doesn't feel it blowing air toward her, she'll actually put her nose on it and sniff it while it's running.

I try to begin and end each session with lots of rubbing, petting, and praise.

I can't believe how smart she is!


madcobug said...

Sounds as if Libby is learning really fast. Glad you and Cliff got the fence fixed. LOL on the timed picture. You did good. Helen

whitedove3622 said...

Well Libby is a female right? Nuff said LOL.

lanurseprn said...

Sounds like she is VERY smart! Wow!  And trusts you implicitly.  
I love your stories about your horses.

plieck30 said...

John had tenants once who had horses and yes they were hard on the fences plus the teenage son drove through one of the fences. Paula

lmitc89854 said...

I am impressed with both you and Libby!

csandhollow said...

They sure are tough on fences! We just replaced a stretch of fence and built a new gate(one I get step thru)
That is so good about Libby.